I’m not an elaborate cake maker, but I’ve found that a simple yet pretty cake is all you need. Especially if the main ingredient is love, as with this Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Frosting.
A January Birthday Bonanza
Growing up, my family all had birthdays in June, except for me, marooned alone in January. That changed two years ago, when not one, but two granddaughters arrived to share the sign of Capricorn and the garnet birthstone with me. Suddenly, a January birthday seems more exciting and fun!
I’m making cakes for each girl’s birthday this year. Now, I’m not a fancy cake baker, much as I’d like to be. But it is possible to make a pretty cake without too much fuss. The key is to keep it simple, so that overly ambitious plans don’t overtake the pleasure of making a cake that a child will find enchanting.
How to Make Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Frosting
For Little Miss M’s birthday last week, I used my simple vanilla cupcake recipe, dividing the batter among three six-inch pans and baking for 25 minutes. Each layer was only about an inch tall after I trimmed off the rounded tops, making a charming diminutive cake for just the birthday girl and her family to enjoy.
For the simple frosting, I blended a half cup of softened unsalted butter with two cups of confectioners sugar, and added a half teaspoon of almond extract and about a quarter cup of raspberry purée. This frosting added beautiful natural colour and flavour.
I opted for a rustic frosted look, with some of the cake showing through on the sides, and using a large round tip to add some “candy kiss” embellishments on the top. A finishing sprinkle of sparkling sugar added just the right touch of magic.
The Magic of Imperfection
This cake was in no way perfect — in fact, it was even lopsided, but I like to say that’s because there was so much love in it. Seeing my granddaughter’s face light up when she saw it, I knew it was perfectly perfect to her.
Looking for More Birthday Cake Ideas?
Here are a few other birthday cakes I’ve made over the years, with varying degrees of decorating effort involved: Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Jam Buttercream; Peanut Butter Cake with Caramel-Milk Chocolate Frosting; and, Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Cake.
First Published 2017 01 07
Updated 2021 01 19
That cake is perfect in every way!
That’s high praise indeed, coming from you! I can only aspire to make a cake as lovely as yours.
I have friends with birthdays in January and I do feel sorry for them as their celebrations tend to get a bit overlooked as everyone concentrates on Christmas and New Year. Your cake is gorgeous! I love it xx
Too funny … I first started the post by writing about that, but then decided I was sounding too whiny, lol. Tis the season when everyone is partied out and their credit cards are maxed out! Although, those aren’t reasons not to celebrate someone’s birthday :). So nice to have your fabulous feedback on my cake.
I bet your granddaughter absolutely adored her special little pink cake. I think it looks terrific and as far as some cake showing through on the sides, that is very trendy at the fancy bakeries here in Florida.
I’ve just found a whole lot of comments that I thought I’d already responded to … And, how nice it is to revisit all these lovely words! Little Miss M was very happy with her cake, and she shared it with her family too! I just say, I do appreciate the more casual approach to cake decorating … perfection is overrated!
How special is this cake? Your Little Miss M must have been in heaven. I wish I could have seen her eyes when she first spied this pink beauty being set before her. Well done, Mar!
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You are lucky to have them close my daughter celebrated in january 2 days ago but to far to nail it lol Windsor. Love the colors though thanks Marlene….
Yes, I don’t think I’d want to mail a cake like this either! Hope your daughter had a lovely birthday.
love this idea and the diminutive size (going to order some 6 inch cake pans), the finished product is gorgeous! just what we need for a january pick me up!
Thank you, Janice! Lovely to hear from you. I hope you’re well. This would be a fun January treat, and I think it would be nice at Valentine’s Day too.